9 ways supermarkets are designed to make you spend more than you want

How to save money by shopping smarter!

Taking a trip down to the supermarket to stock up on our latest grocery needs is one of those things that we don’t usually give much thought to. We make a shopping list, head down to the supermarket, pick out our goods, pay and then we leave. More often than not, we return home with a lot more items than were on our shopping list.

As it turns out, supermarkets have put a lot more thought into this whole process than we ever could imagine. Everything from the layout of the supermarket to sneaky “money-saving” offers, coupons and even sales, have been designed to make you spend more money.

While there’s every chance that you may come across great deals that will genuinely save you some cash, it’s important to keep your wits about you when shopping. After all, the supermarket has one goal and that is to make money! Look out for these nine “tricks” the next time you find yourself in the supermarket.

1. Placing products at eye level

This is one of the oldest tricks in the book. Customer’s often don’t have time or patience to look around and just grab the first brand they see. That’s why supermarket’s place the most profitable items at eye-level and hide the more bargain-priced items on the top or bottom shelves. In fact, very often, brands pay for a specific space on the shelf. Brands will pay more to grab an eye-level placement since they know this is a great way to increase sales.

2. Giving out free samples

So you think that delicious samples are handed out by the friendly employees at the supermarket because they love their customers? While that’s what they want you to think, it’s not very true. The truth is, sample stations are a great way to slow you down and expose you to new products. It’s also a great way to guilt you into purchasing the product on display. Giving you free samples is a way to make you feel inclined to purchase it.

3. The size of your shopping cart

If you thought the purpose of your shopping court was to help you carry your items, you thought wrong. Well, kind of. The main purpose is actually to get you to make bigger purchases than necessary. If your shopping cart is empty, you almost always feel as though you missing something and add a few unnecessary extras. A study conducted by Martin Lindstrom, a marketing consultant and the author of Brandwashed: Tricks Companies Use to Manipulate Our Minds and Persuade Us to Buy found that when they doubled the size of the shopping cart as a test, customers bought 19% more.

4. Your senses are engaged from the very beginning

When you walk in the door, the first thing you smell is likely to be the fresh scent of flowers, bread baking or rotisserie chicken roasting in the deli area. This is all very strategic. You see, the intention is that you will be you in a very good mood from the beginning of your shopping experience and encourage you to buy more. Another reason for this very strategic move is to get your salivary glands going which makes you more likely to make impulse purchases. Who doesn’t want to buy some amazing smelling fresh baked bread?

5. The placement of dairy products and other essentials

Have you ever noticed that when you go into the supermarket just to grab a carton of milk, you have to make your way to the back of the store? This is a very clever way to manipulate you into buying more than what you intended to. If you have to make your way through the whole store just to grab your milk, you more likely to pick up additional items along your way.

Another carefully thought out ‘trick’ is that supermarkets will often separate the dairy and baked goods which forces customers to cover even more of the store. Bread and milk are top the majority of shopper’s grocery lists which makes these the perfect products to target. Always keep these ‘tricks’ in mind and be sure to cut your grocery bill dramatically.

6. Rearranging the store

The real reason that you often walk into your local supermarket and find that many of your favourite items have be moved around again, is a tactic to make you walk around the store for longer to find these items. Supermarkets will also often place new products on shelves where top-selling items are usually found. This is a good way to manipulate people into trying new products.

7. Music to your ears

That slow and depressing music that you often hear when you walk into the supermarket, is playing for a reason. Slow music is generally relaxing and intended to make you move slower and linger around the store. So what’s the reason for depressing music? Well, the theory is that if you are in a depressive mood, you go binge shopping to cure your sorrows. Once in a while, supermarkets will play fast and loud music with the intention to get customers moving while encouraging them to buy. This strategy is often used when the supermarket is super busy.

8. Items at the checkout line

Believe it or not, the checkout line is the most profitable area of the supermarket. After making your way around the store, your self-control is no longer in check. The supermarket is counting on you to grab a chocolate bar or magazine while waiting in line. This is also why you might often find that there are only a few checkout points open. No, the store is not short on staff but they want you to queue for longer because that increases the chances of you grabbing something else before you pay. You’re sure to give into temptation after spending a few minutes waiting in line.

9. The loyalty card

While the loyalty card has been designed to make you think that you are being rewarded with great deals, it’s actually a ploy to keep you as a regular customer. It also provides valuable tracking data and allows them to send you continuous updates and encourage you to make more purchases. By tracking your purchases, the supermarket can also learn more about what you buy and when. If you suddenly receive a discount voucher for toothpaste when you’re about to run out, now you know why.

Guest post from – Jennifer Jones

Jennifer Jones is inspired to teach people to live frugally to help people to take the stress out of their life and live to the fullest. Read more of her writing on The Frugal Mrs Jones.

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